National League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, September 28th
(All times eastern)
Colorado Rockies (62-94) at Los Angeles Dodgers (81-75), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Colorado - Jeff Francis (5-6, 5.54)
Los Angeles - Clayton Kershaw (12-9, 2.68)
(Sports Network) - While the strength of the Los Angeles Dodgers' rotation
rests on the left shoulder of Clayton Kershaw, it is his right hip that is
getting most of the focus right now.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner will try to pitch through his injury
again on Friday night and keep his Dodgers in the wild card race in the opener
of a three-game set against the streaking Colorado Rockies.
A right hip impingement kept Kershaw off the mound for 11 days following a
start on Sept. 11, but he returned to action on Sunday against the Cincinnati
Reds. The left-hander was a bit off target in a no-decision, allowing five
hits and five walks over five innings but limiting the damage to just one run.
"He was just rusty more than anything else," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly
said of Kershaw's start. "He's Clayton. He's going to keep fighting and
The Dodgers feel comfortable throwing their ace out there tonight after he had
a 40-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday that yielded no setbacks.
Kershaw is 0-2 in his last four starts despite only giving up four runs over
25 innings. He sits 12-9 with a 2.68 earned run average through 31 starts this
season, including 7-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 17 at home.
The 24-year-old has faced the Rockies only once this season and was touched
for five runs and three homers in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision back on May
2. He is 6-4 lifetime versus Colorado with a 4.13 ERA in 17 meetings.
The Dodgers pulled to within three games of the St. Louis Cardinals for the
NL's second wild card spot on Thursday with an 8-4 victory over the San Diego
Padres. It marked the first time since Sept. 14-15 that the Dodgers have won
two in a row.
Los Angeles will play its final six games at home, concluding the regular
season with a three-game set against the NL West-champion San Francisco
Giants. The Cardinals begin a three-game series against the visiting
Washington Nationals on Friday following an off day.
"It's not something I think we're really thinking about," L.A. starter Chris
Capuano said of the wild card race. "We could win out and we'd still have to
have other people helping us out to get in at this point so I think we don't
really have anything to lose at this point."
Capuano threw 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball to pick up the win on Thursday.
The Dodgers might be catching the Rockies at the wrong time as Colorado earned
its fourth straight victory on Thursday after finishing up a three-game sweep
of the Chicago Cubs with a 7-5 win. The current win streak follows a string of
nine straight losses.
Jordan Pacheco and DJ LeMahieu hit home runs for Colorado, while Chris Nelson
and Matt McBride each added an RBI.
"The team is young. ... Hopefully we can finish the season strong and get some
experience and show what we can do as a team," Pacheco said.
Jhoulys Chacin pitched well enough to earn the victory. In five innings, he
allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks, striking out two.
Jeff Francis gets the chance to play spoiler tonight for the Rockies, though
he hasn't won since beating the Dodgers back on Aug. 27. He threw five
scoreless outings in that one, allowing three hits and a walk with six
The lefty is 6-4 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 3.30 ERA.
Francis is 0-2 in five starts since that win and the Rockies have lost each of
his past four outings. He did not factor into a 10-7 loss to the Arizona
Diamondbacks on Sunday, touched for two runs on five hits over four innings
without a walk or strikeouts.
The 31-year-old southpaw is 5-6 on the season with a 5.54 ERA in 22 starts.
The Rockies lead the season series with the Dodgers, 8-7, but have lost four
of six in Los Angeles.
09/28 10:36:24 ET
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